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School trips canceled as travel worries grow following attacks

Posted: Wednesday, October 03, 2001

PHILADELPHIA -- Students at the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts are still selling candy bars to raise money for a trip to Italy next spring, but whether they ever get there is another question.

Worried about the danger of overseas travel in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, school leaders may cancel the trip.

''With my own children, it's scary enough to think about traveling; with other people's children, it might be a risk we might not to take,'' Principal Ellen K. Savitz said Monday.

It's a worry shared by school officials nationwide, who are debating whether to send student on trips out of state or outside the country.

Many schools already have canceled trips.

In Portsmouth, N.H., school officials called off student trips to major cities and overseas, including visits to Costa Rica, Russia, Belize, Spain and Washington.

''We have a culturally rich curriculum, so certainly this is disappointing,'' said Lyonel Tracy, superintendent of the 2,700-student district. ''It's a difficult decision to make, but I don't think the benefits outweigh the risks.''

He said he has heard only a few complaints about the cancellations.

Some schools are canceling all trips; others are deciding on a case-by-case basis.

At least five Birmingham, Ala., schools have canceled or postponed trips to Washington or New York. But one high school marching band is sticking with its plan to march in New York for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In Connecticut, the West Hartford school system banned all travel other than day trips within the state. New Britain school officials postponed out-of-state trips and canceled seven trips abroad.

In the Knoxville, Tenn., area, schools canceled spring trips to Spain and Morocco, and Russian and German classes scrapped a trip to Egypt. Several school bands put Hawaii trips on hold.

In Pennsylvania's Bangor school district, superintendent John Reinhart said 300 students will see ''A Christmas Carol'' performed this December in nearby Allentown -- instead of Madison Square Garden. And in the Easton school system, officials canceled a December trip to Florida where student musicians were to perform at Walt Disney World and at a halftime show at the Gator Bowl.

''You just don't know what the state of things is going to be,'' Easton superintendent Thomas Evans said.

Trips set for this fall have been canceled in Porter County, Ind., schools because parents and teachers are hesitant to place students on airplanes. A high school choir in Indiana decided not to perform at the Macy's parade, but senior class trips to Washington are still in the works.

Officials at the Creative and Performing Arts school in Philadelphia are adopting a wait-and-see approach for trips later in the school year.

''You have to wonder how long you should hold off,'' Savitz said. ''Will the world ever change back? It probably won't.''



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